Watchebell Sreet

One of Rye’s most famous cobbled streets is Watchbell Street. Set at the very top of the town it is steeped in history. Walking over the blue boulders on a wet winter evening it it easy to imagine the rumble of brandy kegs being rolled by smugglers and hear the impatient whinney of horses waiting to pull their illicit cargo to inns and ale houses throughout Sussex & Kent.

It was from the look-out at the western end of the street that the huge bell, that warned of French and Spanish raiding parties approaching. A new bell has been re-instated on the spot in recent years but alas, Rother District Council do not look after the trees and bushes growing in front of the look-out. If the french invaded now we would never see them coming!

It is the same with the cobbled streets, in the days of Rye Borough Council they were continuously maintained and were repaired in the traditional fashion. Now the ocassional repairs, ordered by Rother are crude and ugly. A splash of cement is not good enough for Rye’s historic streets.

Hope Anchor Hotel Watchbell Street
Hope Anchor Hotel Watchbell Street

Councils come and go, howerver, and the Rother situation may soon change but there is a symbol at the end of the street that remains constant, and even improves as the years go by. Rye’s famous Hope Anchor Inn provides a quality service in an ideal setting. A visit to Rye would not be complete without staying or dining at this three star, family run hotel with the best views in town.

From September 2008 edition of “Rye’s Own”